Antivirus scanning becoming inadequate, says Webroot CEO

Buys Prevx to provide alternative

US antivirus vendor Webroot has bought UK-based Prevx in an acquisition that looks like the latest symptom of the growing dissatisfaction among security companies with the current signature-based scanning model for detecting malware.

On the face of it a 20-person software security company based in Derby is an unlikely bride for an ambitious US outfit looking to grow. But since its founding as long ago as 2001, Prevx has been a pioneer of the application fingerprinting technology that in the cloud services era has suddenly become ultra-fashionable.

Webroot will now spend the next six months integrating Prevx's cloud-oriented application profiling into its own development program. The Derby employees will be retained and the technical effort spread to engineers based in the US and Austria.

Further down the track, it looks as if the Prevx approach will be used to supplement the company's signature-based scanning antivirus products with a possible view to replacing it entirely when the market is deemed ready.

Application fingerprinting is a very different approach than signature-based detection, and is based on separating the thousands of known good apps from unknown and suspect ones. Any unknown programs encountered are compared to fingerprints in a cloud database to determine whether they are harmful and if they can't be identified at all they are blocked as a precaution.

The advantage is that the PC does not need to keep updating itself with signatures of every piece of malware, a chore for most users. The hard work is done remotely.

"They are a minimum of two to three years ahead of anyone else," said Webroot CEO, Dick Williams as a rationale for buying Prevx rather than matching its development inhouse.

"Over time signature-based solutions will become inadequate," he agreed.

Webroot has been on a modest spending spree recently, acquiring California-based BrightCloud and Email Systems Scandinavia (ESS) of Sweden during 2010.

As it builds a service-based presence, including cloud security, Webroot itself could become a takeover target at some point.

After re-developing its software over the years, Prevx has achieved some success in niche markets such as online bank security with products such as SafeOnline.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Webroot

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?